Basic Science Core Course

To obtain the fundamental knowledge necessary to practice modern biomedical sciences and to lay the foundation for future research collaborations, all students pursuing a Ph.D. in the Basic Sciences are required to complete a semester-long core course. In the course, students learn essential skills in:

  • Designing experiments
  • Interpreting experimental data
  • Critically evaluating primary research literature

The course also includes instruction on the use of scientific databases.

Course Structure

The course is delivered in multiple formats, including:

  • Lectures
  • Experimental design sessions
  • Small group discussions

The course extends from August to December and is valued at nine credit hours. Students begin advanced coursework in the latter half of the fall semester. By the end of the second semester, students join a graduate program and choose a laboratory for their dissertation research.

Course Content

The core curriculum content is comprised of three major biological themes: Proteins, Genes and Cells.

Proteins

The energetic basis of protein structure; stability; ligand binding and regulation; enzyme mechanics and kinetics; methods of purification; and analysis by spectroscopic methods.

Genes

Molecular genetics of model organisms; DNA replication, repair and recombination; transcription; RNA catalysis, processing and interference; translation; protein turnover; developmental biology; and genomics.  

Cells

Cell structure; membrane biology; intracellular membrane and protein trafficking; energy conversion; signal transduction and second messengers; cytoskeleton, cell cycle, and basics of microbiology; immunology; and neurobiology.